Legal Wrap: The Roberts Court Makes a Mess of Just About Everything


Legal Wrap is a weekly round-up of key legal reproductive rights and justice news.

What a mess we’ve got thanks to the Roberts Court. Predictably and sadly, the Court upheld a Michigan ballot initiative that bans affirmative action programs at the state’s public universities. Then it made it harder for victims of child pornography to collect damages against those who possessed illegal materials containing their images. And now it looks like the Court is about to endorse lying in political ads without consequence, because who needs facts when you have free speech?

The Marissa Alexander case is an excellent example of the damage and destruction U.S. policies that criminalize pregnant women and mothers bring. Unfortunately, the message is getting lost.

Conservative lawmakers in Louisiana are pushing a bill that would prevent the removal of mechanical support from pregnant women, looking to repeat the Marlise Munoz tragedy in the Bayou State.

Meanwhile, Florida passed a fetal homicide bill, which will make it a crime to kill or injure a fetus at any stage of development during an attack on a pregnant woman.

Alaska lawmakers sent a strong message to poor women that it’s the state and not doctors who are in charge of medical care, by limiting which abortions can be considered “medically necessary.”

In Oklahoma, anti-choice lawmakers passed new restrictions on medication abortions after previous restrictions were found to be unconstitutional.

Mississippi has a new abortion ban. This one outlaws the procedure after 18 weeks’ gestation.

Well, this stinks: Under pressure from the Denver Archbishop, Colorado lawmakers withdraw their Reproductive Health Freedom Act, which would have proactively stopped local government bodies from interfering in reproductive health care.

Arizona lawmakers passed a law that allows for warrantless, surprise inspections of abortion clinics, because who needs the Fourth Amendment anyway?

Tara Murtha reports on a series of complaints filed by the Women’s Law Project with the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education against nine of 14 members of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, claiming that the colleges have discriminated against female athletes.

Sheila Bapat has this great piece on the Cecily McMillan trial and why it matters.

Andrea Grimes reports on the plight of two North Texas doctors who had their hospital admitting privileges unlawfully revoked because they provide legal abortion care.

Elsewhere, there’s this historic lawsuit alleging that doctors and social workers violated the civil rights of a child born with an intersex condition by assigning him a biological sex shortly after birth and without consent.

Federal courts are increasingly recognizing Title VII protects against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. I explain here why that means a broad ruling in the Hobby Lobby case could be especially devastating.

Believe it or not, there’s a strategy to the lawsuits across the country challenging the contraception coverage requirement.

Texas and the Department of Justice are squaring off over voting rights again.

We can all agree that if New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is running for president of the United States in 2016, he’ll do so as the moderate in his party now that he’s linked being anti-abortion with being pro-drug treatment, right?

I love these change-of-heart stories—I just wish they happened before causing so much pain and wasted money in litigation fees.

The American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists filed a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit detailing how Arizona’s restrictions on medication abortion hurt patient safety and violate the standards of care.

Good news! The Florida Supreme Court ruled 6 to 1 that the state’s anti-discrimination law covers pregnant workers who face on-the-job discrimination.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Follow Jessica Mason Pieklo on Twitter: @hegemommy

To schedule an interview with Jessica Mason Pieklo please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.